How to Use Metal Posts for a Wood Fence

Updated February 21, 2017

Metal posts are becoming a more popular option for installation of wood fences. Fences typically are installed on treated wooden posts. Using metal posts for a wood fence is only slightly more complicated than wooden posts. With wooden posts, the fence is attached by driving screws through the face of the fence into the face of the post. Metal posts require a specialised fence bracket that runs behind the post and attaches to the fence at either side to hold it in place.

Lay out the fence line with wooden stakes and mason's twine. Drive a stake into each corner of your fence line and tie the mason's twine between them to represent the fence line.

Wrap a piece of tape around the string every 8 feet to indicate placement for the metal poles. Dig a post hole under every piece of tape, and in place of each corner post. Use chalk to mark the post positions on the ground. Post holes are typically 10 to 12 inches across and 24 inches deep.

Set one post in each hole. Privacy fence posts are typically 6 feet above ground, so the poles will need to be 8 feet deep. Use a reciprocating saw to cut the pole to length, if necessary. Add ½ bag of concrete to each hole.

Attach pole brackets to the first pole even with every horizontal runner in the fence panel, typically three, with a self-tapping sheet metal screw. Use a bracket as a template. Set it in position on the pole and mark the screw hole position. Drill a pilot hole in the pole at the mark with a 1/8 inch drill bit. Set the bracket in position and drive a screw through the hole in the bracket into the pilot hole in the pole.

Set your first fence panel in place between the first two poles. The panel should end in the centre of the second pole so that the next panel will butt up to it. One end of the bracket will attach to each panel. Attach the ends of the bracket to the fence panels by driving treated deck screws through the screw holes at each end of the fence bracket, typically 2 screws per end.

Add water to the concrete mix and mix well with a scrap of lumber, after the fence panels are attached. This allows the poles to shift for perfect bracket placement. Use a level to make sure the fence is plumb front to back, and make any needed adjustments. Add dirt to fill the holes to the top and pack firmly to hold poles upright.

Repeat the process with each panel until the fence is completed. Drive stakes into the ground 2 feet out from the fence on both sides. Attach scrap lumber between the fence and the stakes to brace the fence until the concrete hardens.

Things You'll Need

  • Wooden stakes
  • Mason's twine
  • Tape measure
  • Tape
  • Chalk
  • Post hole diggers
  • Metal posts
  • Metal U post brackets
  • Drill
  • 1/8 inch bit
  • Screw tip
  • Self-tapping sheet metal screws, 1-inch long
  • Fence panels
  • Treated deck screws
  • Concrete mix
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About the Author

Mark Morris started writing professionally in 1995. He has published a novel and stage plays with SEEDS studio. Morris specializes in many topics and has 15 years of professional carpentry experience. He is a voice, acting and film teacher. He also teaches stage craft and lectures on playwriting for Oklahoma Christian University.